How much will Covid lateral flow tests cost in England?

23 February 2022, 10:14 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 11:26

Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

How much will lateral flow tests cost and when do you have to start paying? Find out everything…

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Earlier this week, Boris Johnson announced the end of free lateral flow testing in England.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the Prime Minister confirmed he would be ending all coronavirus restrictions, including the scrapping of self-isolation rules and free testing.

But how much will lateral flow tests cost and when do we have to start paying? Find out everything…

Covid lateral flow tests will now cost up to £30
Covid lateral flow tests will now cost up to £30. Picture: Alamy

How much will Covid lateral flow tests cost?

Starting from April, anyone who wants to test to see if they have Covid will have to pay between £2 and £5 for an individual LFT, government sources said.

For a pack of seven, it could set you back between £20 and £30.

Mr Johnson said the Government was ‘working with retailers to ensure everyone who wants to can buy a test’.

Limits on tests ordered online have been put in place, with packs limited to one per person every three days.

While you can currently order a free PCR test if you have symptoms of Covid, this will also be scrapped.

Covid tests will only be free to certain groups of people
Covid tests will only be free to certain groups of people. Picture: Alamy

When will free Covid tests end?

The rules on universal free Covid testing will change from 1 April.

Boris Johnson told MPs: "Until April 1 we will still advise people who test positive to stay at home but after that we will encourage people with Covid-19 symptoms to exercise personal responsibility, just as we encourage people who may have flu to be considerate to others.

"It's only because levels of immunity are so high and deaths are now if anything below where you would normally expect for this time of year that we can lift these restrictions.

"It's only because we know Omicron is less severe that testing for Omicron on the colossal scale we've been doing is much less important and much less valuable in preventing serious illness."

Boris Johnson has scrapped free Covid testing
Boris Johnson has scrapped free Covid testing. Picture: Alamy

Mr Johnson previously told the BBC that the UK spent £2 billion on testing in January alone.

Business minister Paul Scully has since told Sky News: “If you think what that £2 billion might go towards, there’s a lot of other backlogs in the NHS, other illnesses in the NHS, that that money could otherwise go for.

“So for every person that is worried about a test, there may be another person that’s worried about a cancer diagnosis, for instance.”

Who will be able to get free Covid tests?

Free testing will still be available for some people, including care home residents, hospital patients and other vulnerable groups.

Mr Johnson said the full details of who will continue to be entitled to free tests will be set out next month.